Passing DeWine Amendment ‘Gratifying,’ But ‘Victory’ on HIV/AIDS Not Yet Achieved, Editorial Says
Although last week's Senate approval of an amendment to the $18.4 billion foreign operations appropriations bill (S 1426) that would provide an additional $289 million for the first year of the five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative was "[g]ratifying ... , victory hasn't been achieved yet," an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says (Akron Beacon Journal, 11/5). The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), would increase federal spending on the global AIDS initiative for fiscal year 2004 from $2.1 billion already approved by the Senate to nearly $2.4 billion, $400 million more than the Bush administration requested. The House has approved $2.1 billion for the initiative. Although the measure (HR 1298) supporting the initiative authorizes $3 billion for the first year of the program, the Bush administration has requested only $2 billion. Bush said that his administration requested less than $3 billion in order to give the program time to "ramp up" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/31). The Senate version of the foreign operations appropriations bill must now be reconciled in conference with the House version. The White House "[u]nfortunately" has "put in doubt its commitment" to fighting AIDS, the Beacon Journal says, adding that the DeWine amendment has made "the argument for bold and urgent action to back up the commitments the United States has made." The editorial concludes, "Providing the desperately needed treatment, equipping hospitals and clinics, supporting HIV/AIDS education and training health care personnel requires substantial contributions from wealthier countries," and, as DeWine told the Senate, the United States needs to "take some reasonable risks right away to offer help that can save thousands of lives each day" (Akron Beacon Journal, 11/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.